Update - 26 May 2020
Hey everyone! I just finished my first semester at Think Tank. For my final project I had to choose a 2D concept and recreate it in 3D.
I went with Matt Dixon's "Full Fathom Five" concept for a couple of reasons. Primarily because I wanted to focus on texturing and really liked the challenge of lighting an underwater scene. And secondly, I'm more comfortable with hard surface modeling, but this concept presented a good middle ground to push me a reasonable amount out of my comfort zone.
Here's a link to Matt's original concept: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/GLL4a
To start off I decided that I wanted to go for a realistic feel while trying to stay true to the stylized aspects of form.
I grabbed a ton of real world reference for every main feature: Rocks, fish, chains, robots and underwater lighting. I also had some CG reference for style and feel, as well as to measure up against as a benchmark of quality.
Here's a few Look Dev slides of some of my assets.
I modeled and textured the robot, modeled one of the rock's base meshes and made the other in Houdini. Rock textures and some displacement were from a Quixel asset. The particles were an FX sim I made in Maya, I'll be doing a quick breakdown of this on my artstation soon!
Responsible for Fish model and texturing. I used a combination of a diffuse texture from Texturing XYZ and some fish photos I graded and blended.
This asset was an incredibly valuable lesson. For one, it did not hit the benchmark I set. For two, because I was so focused on chasing perfection, I spent way too much time on it and had to cut corners on other things that were actually more important to me as an artist. And the cherry on top-- through all the revisions and total remodeling/resculpting of the fish, I entirely ignored whether or not this realistic version fit within the shape language of the rendering.
It's entirely my own fault. My awesome supervisor Darrell Abney tried to guide me away from folly, but I didn't follow through thoroughly with his notes.
I see this as a huge failure, but it helped me identify a larger pattern in my behavior as an artist working towards a deadline. I've already begun implementing personal checkpoints and questions to mitigate this tendency. I'm also considering some kind of plaque or sign to hang behind my monitors to the effect of: "Silhouette! Silhouette! Silhouette! Large to Small."
Open to suggestions!